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Brian Johnson (special effects artist)

Brian Johnson (born 1939[1] or 1940)[2] is a British designer and director of film and television special effects.

Brian Johnson
Brian Johncock

OccupationSpecial effects artist, film director
Years active1957–2006
Known forAlien (1979)
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
TelevisionThunderbirds (1965–66)
Space: 1999 (1975–78)
AwardsAcademy Award for Best Visual Effects (1980)
Special Achievement Academy Award (1981)
Saturn Award (1981)
BAFTA Award (1987)

Life and careerEdit

Born Brian Johncock,[3] he changed his surname to Johnson during the 1960s.[3] Joining the team of special effects artist Les Bowie, Johnson started his career behind the scenes for Bowie Films on productions such as On The Buses, and for Hammer Films. He is known for his special effects work on TV series including Thunderbirds (1965–66) and films including Alien (1979),[4] for which he received the 1980 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects (shared with H. R. Giger, Carlo Rambaldi, Dennis Ayling and Nick Allder). Previously, he had built miniature spacecraft models for Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey.[5]

Johnson's work on Space: 1999 influenced the effects of the Star Wars films of the 1970s and 1980s.[6] Impressed by his work, George Lucas visited Johnson during the production of the TV series to offer him the role of effects supervisor for the 1977 film. Having already been commissioned for the second series of Space: 1999, Johnson was unable to accept at the time.[7] He did, however, work on the sequel: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), whose special effects were recognised in the form of a 1981 Special Achievement Academy Award (which Johnson shared with Richard Edlund, Dennis Muren and Bruce Nicholson).


Johnson has won Academy Awards for both Alien (1979) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980). He was further nominated for an Academy Award for his work on Dragonslayer (1981). In addition, Johnson is the recipient of a Saturn Award (for The Empire Strikes Back) and a BAFTA Award (for the 1986 sequel to Alien, Aliens).


Special effectsEdit



  1. ^
  2. ^ Imagining Outer Space: European Astroculture in the Twentieth Century
  3. ^ a b Archer, Simon; Hearn, Marcus (2002). What Made Thunderbirds Go! The Authorised Biography of Gerry Anderson. London: BBC Books. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-563-53481-5.
  4. ^ "Bring on the Gore: Top Ten Practical Effects in Horror!". BloodyDisgusting.
  5. ^ Drake, Chris: UFO and Space: 1999. Boxtree. p. 58.
  6. ^ The Catacombs—Brian Johnson.
  7. ^ Brian Johnson Interview, 1979.

External linksEdit